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Arnold Schwarzenegger: five best moments
Highlights from the action-packed and dialogue-light career of the bodybuilder turned actor turned governor turned actor
Friday 3 July 2015 10.53 BST
Ridicule his abilities as you wish but Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films have made over $4bn worldwide over a 30 year period, making him one of the most successful actors of all time.
And while this might have less to do with his impeccably emotive line delivery and more to do with his hulking physical presence, he’s sustained a surprisingly varied career nonetheless. This week he returns to play his most iconic role in Terminator Genisys and, since it’s not going down as one of his greatest films, here’s what we’d pick instead.
Perhaps the only actor to have ever broken out in a documentary, Arnie’s appearance in this bodybuilding doc has brought him both rewards and embarrassment. The 30-year-old goes into great, great detail about his routine, showing off his physique at any given moment. In this haunting clip, we hear him compare weight training to ejaculating.
Long before Colin Farrell and director Len Wiseman brought roughly nothing to the table in the 2012 remake, Paul Verhoeven and Arnie added surprising smarts to this 1990 sci-fi thriller. A thin layer of satire added to a pacey action plot made it one of Arnie’s most purely enjoyable films.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The first Terminator is a brilliantly spare thriller, as ruthlessly efficient as Arnie’s deadly android, but James Cameron’s 1991 sequel transformed a B-movie into a blockbuster. Utilising CGI in a way that no one had before, the effects still hold up to this day and the undervalued storytelling makes it a model on how to keep a broad audience on the edge of their seats.
Last Action Hero
Unfairly overlooked, this 1993 meta-action film provided Arnie with a chance to poke fun at his persona, quite literally, as the actor played himself. Released a week after Jurassic Park, it was always somewhat doomed, with a complicated premise that was a little too knowing and also a little too nuts to work on the masses.
Arnie’s attempts at comedy were mixed and, given the failure of Last Action Hero, it’d be understandable if he stayed away from the genre completely. But reuniting with James Cameron for this 1994 attempt was a stroke of genius. Making sure the action quota was kept in check while also ensuring a steady stream of laughs, the balance was perfectly managed and proved, yet again, that Arnie works best when paired with Cameron.
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